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December 17, 2017

I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Our two week old spent some time in the hospital this last weekend. She is getting better now but watching her going through so many tests was heartbreaking. All of a sudden Santa walks in our room in the ER with toys for my daughter from Coles Closet. I was so touched by what your organization does for children. I can’t thank you enough. What you are doing for other families with children who are sick is amazing. I am so sorry for the loss of your son.

Umlauf Family

Cole’s Closet has made so many hospitals stays easier at Inova Loudoun Hospital. The generosity of Cole’s Closet continues to amaze me. We are so grateful for every donation. Thank you for all that you do!

Samantha Leahy, MA CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist

Inova Loudoun Hospital

Hello Ellen & Steve!

I wanted to send my sincere appreciation for starting Cole’s Closet. My son was hospitalized last year at 9 months old after an endoscopy showed an ulcer in his stomach. We were shocked, and unprepared as we were admitted to the hospital for 6 days. Ben had just started crawling and being confined to his hospital crib by IV was very hard for him. After his arrival the nurses brought him a few items that immediately brightened his mood. He received a Little People Circus and a few books. He played with his toys throughout his stay, and he still plays with the circus and reads his books today. While it was sad to think of his time in the hospital it always makes me smile to think of how considerate other people are of others, especially children who are sick, and for that I am so thankful. I would love to contribute to Cole’s Closet in some way – please let me know how I can donate!

Lisa Sinclair


I just finished reading the article in the Manassas Journal Messenger. My eyes filled up with tears (okay so I was totally crying). I am sad to hear of your loss yet, pleased to see how you turned such a tragic event into something so loving and caring. I am a mother of a several disable daughter. I was told she was a healthy baby girl (born at Ft. Belvoir) yet, she had rapid eye movement followed by a high pitch cry/scream (the doctors at Ft. Belvoir just told me she was colic). A month after she was born I brought her into Children’s Hospital in DC which is when they told me she was having seizures. As a young parent I went through a lot (not nearly as much as my daughter was going through). She lost the ability to suck and I have a weak stomach for working with G-tubes (really, I have a weak stomach for anything about a hospital) so I purred all her food and used a spoon to pour the food into her mouth. We spe nt several months at Children’s and I was told that my daughter would not make it to her first birthday. I lived in the hospital with my daughter however, I had to go to work everyday as my leave ran out real quick. I saw so many kids where nobody came to visits so each day I made it a point to visit and play or read to these kids. I am sure that words can not thank you enough for all the joy that you are bringing to the children in the hospital and to their families.

I have to say that I have received a miracle….my daughter will be celebrating her 18th birthday this year! Your article brought up all the feelings of being lonely in the hospital for months at a time when my daughter had numerous surgeries and a tough battle with her grand mal seizures. We would like to help out Cole’s closet and donate some new toys and books can you let us know where to send them?

Thanks for all you do!


Robyn and Brittany

I found out about your organization when I was at WaldenBooks the other night at Landmark Mall. I wanted to let you know I think what you’re doing is great. I dropped off a bag of toys at the Fairfax office of Dominion this morning. The person I talked to there wasn’t quite familiar with Cole’s Closet, so I wanted to let you know there’s a bag of toys floating around that office that I hope get to you! It’s a brown paper grocery bag with mostly infant toys. Thanks for all you do.

Melissa Sweeney

Dear Ellen and Steve,

Say hi from Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children.

I received your gift from IFHC’s staff today, and I just want to say : thank you so much , I knew that we are not alone.

Our first baby Carol was admitted to IFHC on March 21 this year because she was diagnosed the leukemia. From that day, our normal life was totally changed, what we have is just the numerous sleepless night.

My wife has stayed in the hospital with Carol since 03/21, she never moved out from the hospital because we don’t have any family relatives in U.S. I also applied 3 months FMLA for Carol. We have the most exact situations of your hospital stay for little Cole.

Anyway, being parents, we have to fight the disease with our daughter, your kindly wishes is just like the candle from the darkness.


Joe and Yan

Hi Ellen,

I’m giving more bags to Rachel today. She wanted me to pass along the activity sheet and had a nice conversation with one of the moms. She said:

I had a Spanish family that I gave one to on East today. She was SO grateful and said the following:

“I feel so badly for the mother of the child who started this program. My heart truly goes out to her and this is such a nice gift. I sincerely appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.” Her face was so genuine and I feel like that gift bag will, truly, be a very good thing for that family.

Thanks, Rachel LB =)

Dear Cole’s Closet:

This is a long overdue thank you to Cole’s Closet for making my daughter’s hospital stay better. We have been avid supporters of Cole’s Closet and have loved making donations for the yard sales and auctions. We never thought that it would come full circle and we would be on the receiving end of Cole’s Closet.
Last summer my two year old daughter, Wren, became ill and was admitted to Loudoun Hospital for a week. My husband had to drop my five year old son of every morning so he could work and thankfully Cole’s Closet made it easier to make through such long days of being confined to the hospital room.
The DVD player allowed for continuous play of “Spongebob Squarepants” and to this day my daughter is still addicted to “Spongebob”! The nurses brought my daughter and son coloring books, crayons and a puzzle from the “Closet” and when the bed was to much for my daughter the big rocking chair allowed me to rock her to sleep.
After being with my son in the hospital for two weeks when he was a baby and having no “luxuries” we were very thankful to reap the benefits of Cole’s Closet. We will continue to support Cole’s Closet, as we have experienced first hand the importance of this charity.

Thank you so much,

The Griner Family

A few years ago our family (my parents, two brothers and sister) decided to give to charity instead of buying gifts for one another and our children. While we were looking for charities, my husband suggested Cole’s Closet because he works for Dominion Virginia Power. So Cole’s Closet became one of the charities we donate to every year.

Well, our connection to Cole’s Closet took a very personal turn this past May. My oldest son (who was 6 at the time) became gravely ill with a life-threatening complication from strep throat. We live in Stafford and went first to Mary Washington Hospital. Since they had no PICU, they medivac’d my son to Fairfax Inova Hospital where life saving surgery was performed. My son was in the hospital for a week and by default, my three year old son spent alot of time there as well. Imagine my delight and gratitude when I realized that the activity room on the pediatrics floor was a direct result of Cole’s Closet! Many a carefree hour was spent in that room – my boys could play together, draw, colour, play outside – it was such a relief and blessing! Our entire family enjoyed the sanctuary that room provided!

Thank you for making a difficult, scary, trying time a little less so!

With deepest thanks,
Aimee L. Froling
Stafford, VA

In late June of 2007, our three year old daughter Ryan, began to show signs of catching some sort of bug. It was unusual for Ryan to act run down or sick as she had always been extremely healthy.

Within five days time, Ryan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Acute Liver Failure and passed away. Our world was turned upside down in an instant and we were completely lost in our grief and shock.

Cole’s Closet was there for us when we needed it the most. From their offering of necessities during our hospital stay to the countless, notes, gifts and support since Ryan’s passing. Cole’s Closet has been the most unexpected gift during this journey we now travel. Cole’s Closets efforts will never be forgotten by my family. Their commitment and love for their son Cole has bloomed into an amazing, loving and compassionate foundation. They will forever hold a place in our hearts.

Boykin Family

Cole’s Closet has helped to make so many patients and families happier while they are staying at Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children. The thought that goes into the toys they select for the kids and the care package bags for the families is truly heartwarming. Because of Cole’s Closet, families are able to have a few comforts of home while going through a life changing experience. Keep up the good work!

Kristin O’Brien
Development Specialist, Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children

Cole’s Closet & Ellen,

Thank you so very much for continuing to think of our family as we try to learn to live with the loss of our daughter. The 6 months of fruits will be had by all including our son who is about to celebrate his first birthday on Dec. 3.

We find this first season of holidays incredibly hard. We will take each day as it comes and keep our love for our family close.

We wish you all the best for the holidays and please know how much it means to know that your organization is out there supporting families in this terrible situation.


Julie Barry

Cole’s Closet came to our side in May 2004. Their presence in our lives was God’s gift during our son’s grim fight for his life. Cole’s closet provided genuine empathy that comes only from experience. In addtion, they knew the physical needs brought upon the family during the crisis. Their generous gifts during our stay at the hospital helped make our situation more tolerable. It has been two years since we’ve been home with our son, and Cole’s Closet continues to be a strong shoulder in our lives. Not only do we recieve the gift of their priceless friendship, their ‘Outreach Program’ has made our hectic home more calm with the gifts of premade dinners, etc. We also delight in recieving beautiful flowers/plants to brighten our home with love. When something arrives from Cole’s Closet we truly feel hugged.

Bukovac Family

Cole’s Closet has made a direct impact to the inpatients at Georgetown University Hospital Dept. of Pediatrics. The smile on a child’s face when they receive a toy that they have earned for their bravery is priceless, especially after a hard procedure or surgery. It makes families and the child realize that there is something positive to look forward to in the not so best of situations. The dedication and care from the entire team at Cole’s Closet has been amazing. We are so grateful to be partnering with Cole’s Closet.”

Linda Jung, Child Life Specialist

We have been so fortunate to be involved with Cole’s Closet. You entered our lives when we needed you the most. Although we could not express, nor did we really know what we needed , you seemed to be there at precisely the right time, with the right words and the right support. The toys and handmade quilts you gave to our daughters gave them an escape from all the stress we all were experiencing. Your delivery of home cooked meals during the week we had doctor appointment after doctor appointment and in between trying to work full time gave us the nourishment we needed to stay healthy, focused and strong. Your phone calls of encouragement when a doctor’s visit did not go well gave us hope. Your surprise gift baskets always came at a time when a surprise was just what we needed. And your hand to hold while our daughter was having her heart surgery was beyond what we could have ever asked for. What AMAZING people you are! Words can never express how much we appreciate what you have done for us. The only way we can think to thank you is to volunteer our time and talents to help Cole’s Closet help others. Whatever we can do to help, please let us know. We know how worthwhile what you do is. We’ve experienced it first hand. We love you! THANK YOU!

From Natalie’s Family
Clifton, VA USA

I think that what your are doing is wonderful. I found out about you through little Brooke Cummings. I will help you in some way, that’s for sure.
Bill Kays
Vienna, VA USA

We are so thankful to Cole’s Closet for your thoughtfulness and generosity toward our daughter Brooke. We think what you are doing for ill children and their families in our area is absolutely wonderful. Prior to Brooke being born with her congenital heart defects, we had no direct exposure to children facing medical challenges. We are so sorry for the loss of your precious baby boy, and we feel your pain as much as we can without having also lost a child. As you know, you can never adequately explain the pain of watching your child suffer to someone who hasn’t lived through it themselves. Thanks for your strength and inspiration in all that you do! You are truly making a difference. Fondly, Kevin, Kris and Brooke Cummings
Kris, Kevin & Brooke Cummings
Reston, VA USA

I am attending Bishop McNamara High School next year and would like to some how involve that with Cole’s Closet. I can get teenagers to help at the hospital, stuffing evelopes, or raising money and collecting toys. I would like to help get Cole’s Closet active in Southern Maryland, Civista, and Anne Arundel. Just let me know exactly what you want me to do.
Caitlin Brown
Clinton, MD USA

Its great to see Coles Closet grow, and we look forward to watching it grow even more. We will continue to support any way we can. Love, Randy, Denise, Dylan & McKenna
Randy Singleton

Congratulations on the growth of Cole’s Closet. How wonderful! We miss you guys terribly!
The Cookes
Eagle Rock, VA USA

Cole’s Closet has been progressing wonderfully in the last year. We are so happy that several children have benifited from this organization. We are happy to be a part of the process.
Simmons Family
Springfield, VA USA

Terrific job on the new web page!
Karen Stewart
Springfield, VA USA

Who would have thougth that Cole’s Closet would have ever developed in to what is has become today. You guys have put so much love and dedication in to making “MIGHTY CHRISTMAS” (now Cole’s Closet) a tremendous organization. One little boy, Cole, has touched so many lives in the short amount of time he was here.I believe Cole’s Closet allows him to continue touching families lives through you and your message. What a wonderful family you are to push your dream of making other’s painful times a little easier.
Jamie Cox
Springfield, VA USA

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